Posted in Concepts, Culture, Events, Quotes, Technology

Part 2: Navigating Political Discussion with Family Members

Hello! Yesterday I posted some philosophical thoughts in Part 1: Reflections on “The Drowning Child”. I concluded that post with this question which I wanted to explore more in depth today:

If we are obligated to save the life of a child in need, is there a fundamental difference between saving one who is right in front of us and one on the other side of the world?”

– Saania

However, as I was editing this post, it evolved into something else, and I have to explore it in Part 3.

Recognizing Societal Illness

One of my favorite books is called “Teachings on Love” by Thich Nhat Hanh, a Vietnamese monk and Zen master who resides in the Plum Village monastery in France. He occasionally visits the West and leads mindfulness retreats. He’s dismayed when he finds suffering as the result of behaviors passed on from one generation to the next.

There is a deep malaise in society. When we put a young person in this society without trying to protect him, he receives violence, hatred, fear, and insecurity every day, and eventually he gets sick. Our conversations, TV programs, advertisements, newspapers, and magazines all water the seeds of suffering in young people, and not-so young people as well.

Thich Nhat Hanh

He further describes how we put ourselves in an unhealthy vacuum and offers a suggestion:

Taking refuge in these things [smoking, TV, overworking, eating, drinking] only makes us feel hungrier and less satisfied, and we want to ingest more. We need some guidelines, some preventative medicine, to protect ourselves, so we can be healthy again. We have to find a cure for our illness. We have to find something good, beautiful, and true in which we take refuge.

Thich Nhat Hanh

How Do We Even Begin to Heal?

Politics has always been a sensitive topic in my family. I suspect it’s typical for many families. My family prioritized harmony and preservation of familial bonds over open, heated debates all throughout my life. Dad never wanted the children to get upset and shielded us from most of these topics. I was grateful that my childhood and young adult life was relatively pleasant.

Quietly smiling at the irony of my blog name, “Culture Shocks”, I try to avoid talking about it here as well because this blogging space is my “relax and unwind zone”. However, I’m currently in figurative knots, and I’m on the search for understanding.

Now that my siblings and I are all adults, we now see how aspects of politics affect various facets of our lives. More discussions are cropping up during our phone calls. We’re talking things out and sifting various sources together trying to discern real news and fake news dissemination, but it’s gotten a bit sophisticated.

A while back I watched an episode, “Deepfake”, of Madam Secretary where I learned about the concept of deep fake technology. Seeing how easily it was to get society to get riled up and affect the decisions of each respective country’s leaders was quite alarming.

Deepfake technology enables anyone with a computer and an Internet connection to create realistic-looking photos and videos of people saying and doing things that they did not actually say or do.

Rob Toews, Forbes contributor on AI. “Deepfakes Are Going To Wreak Havoc On Society. We Are Not Prepared.”

The pressure is building. My mother and my uncle, in particular, are wanting me to vote in a particular direction, but the current state of American politics is stressful and rife with scandal.

I feel stuck between a rock and a hard place, and many times, I feel tempted not to vote at all. Yet to avoid participation, is making a decision too. It was easier to vote in local elections that impact the community I’m in. I feel like I relate to very few candidates on the national scale. Regardless of whether or not I relate well, I have to take into account how it will affect the nation as a whole.

Last year, I was really surprised to see Marianne Williamson make an appearance as a candidate. She seemed so refreshingly out of place, yet brilliantly addressed various inequities. She wrote a book called “Healing the Soul of America“.

Though I hold her in utmost high regard as a spiritual healer, I’m not sure the pursuit of presidential ambitions would be a good vocation for her. I appreciate her activism and influence and feel that she is more effective outside of the political sphere or at least nearby political circles as an advisor. Similar to how Billy Graham served as a spiritual advisor and counselor to several U.S. leaders. If she attained a presidential role, I feel that her idealism will be snuffed out in the day-to-day responsibilities and pragmatic and, at times, ruthless decisions. I certainly don’t want that to happen as she serves a vital role in society.

Choosing a leader for the melting pot of our nation seems to be an herculean task. I study their platform, their past history and track record, any changes they have publicly made to their stance. I was fascinated by the ideological beliefs of political giants such as Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Michael Bloomberg, Pete Buttigieg, Andrew Yang, and Tulsi Gabbard. I was intrigued by Republican nominee, Bill Weld, and his impressive record of fighting public corruption cases. Trump has been the most beguiling of them all, and has been featured in all types of media.

The Search to Find Common Ground

A few nights ago, mom and I had a discussion about the current American political landscape and the upcoming election. I implore her to look at the big picture and view the potential impact of each candidate. Economic, health, education, and immigration policies are important to her.

She highlighted a point about Joe Biden and how he didn’t support the evacuation of Vietnamese refugees back in the 1970’s. Seeing how this decision would have impacted my ability to be here in the states in the first place and being the curious person that I am, I decide to look for various sources:

Yet Senator Biden, the future vice president, then at the age of 31, fiercely maintained that the U.S. had “no obligation, moral or otherwise, to evacuate foreign nationals,” dismissing concerns for their safety as the North Vietnamese Army and Viet Cong swept south toward Saigon in 1975….

LA Progressive by STEPHEN FOX March 7, 2020

President Gerald Ford was upset with Biden’s response at the time:

The United States has had a long tradition of opening its doors to immigrants of all countries. We’ve always been a humanitarian nation. We felt that a number of these South Vietnamese deserved an opportunity to live in freedom.

Washington Examiner article by Jerry Dunleavy, July 4, 2019

Kissinger said there were Vietnamese to whom we have an obligation, but Biden responded: “I will vote for any amount for getting the Americans out. I don’t want it mixed with getting the Vietnamese out.”

It seems clear here where all the decision makers stood here on this issue. Biden was patriotic and perhaps more of a nationalist than President Ford at the time. As I’m trying to remain even-keeled, I remember a memory of a time I spent at one of my first sociology meetings at the university after I introduced myself and my family’s background.

One of the leaders of the organization listened and responded:

At the time, the United States government sent so many American soldiers to Vietnam to fight and it was such a bloody war. Many Americans were very upset of losing so many of their loved ones on the front lines and felt that the effort was futile. Can you imagine how the American population felt about Vietnam as a whole?

Understandably, I can see why Joe Biden have felt this way. When you have witnessed the destruction that a senseless war has caused, you feel to the weight of the burdens of all your constituents and the people you serve. How can I even think about helping others when I can’t even help my own? He must have felt embittered at such loss and wanted nothing to do with the people who were influenced by their government to commit these heinous acts.

The US responded just as ruthlessly with a chemical warfare program called Operation Ranch Hand. Agent Orange, not only contaminated the health of the Viet Cong soldiers who were hiding in the forests, but also millions of innocent citizens and various animal species that lived nearby. Defoliants made it difficult to rebuild the forest habitat and the reparations for the damage done is still devastating.

The Complexity of Multiple Sides of An Issue

I reflected back on how my parents felt when they first arrived. They too were traumatized and simultaneously grateful to be here. Though, my parents were not the Viet Cong, they were cautious about building friendships with the American people realizing that many were not supportive of sponsoring Vietnamese refugees.

The safe route was to be insular and be friends with those who have faced similar strife and shared experiences, and rebuild their lives from there. They worked very hard to try not to lean on various welfare programs too much as they were aware of marginalized groups abusing the system. Today, my parents’ quality of life is far better than if they were to have stayed in Vietnam.

There’s a certain mentality that countries can only help a small percentage of immigrants, otherwise the native population begins to feel threatened. Despite whatever plight these immigrants have faced in their homeland, both sides’ ways of life becomes disrupted when trying to welcome foreign populations with different values or at least live side by side.

There are so many sides to the issue. Some countries faced the consequence of allowing too many immigrants to enter their country without review only to have the newcomers rape the native women and children in the streets. Some immigrants become valuable business leaders in their adoptive country and help serve their new community however they can. The immigration offices are flooded with so many cases and processing each of them can be cumbersome…

I’ll wrap it up for now. Thank you again for following along my thoughts today!

Posted in Nature, poetry, Quotes

#OctPoWriMo13 – Rooted in Love

“A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.”

Marcus Garvey
Image Credit: Pixabay

A solitary beauty grows
in lovely fields where the wind blows
Everred tree provides some shade
for the wild children who played

Enveloped by the scarlet rows…

Brown branches sometimes house the crows
Love given during fated throes
from the precious red leaves that swayed

Sacred deep roots…

Donning the color of a rose
Nature’s kind nurse naturally knows
Fostering healing in swift aid
when our weak well being is frayed
and bring us back up from our lows

Sacred deep roots…

Day 13 – Tree – Rondeau
Posted in awareness, Events, Music, Nature, poetry, Quotes

#OctPoWriMo9 – Fiery Forest

“I see fire
Burning the trees
And I see fire
Hollowing souls
I see fire…”

Ed Sheeran
Image Credit: peoplesdispatch.org

Crackling flames setting homes ablaze
Amazon wilderness’ atmospheric haze
Collapsing lungs of Mother Gaia
Praying for healing to Her own messiah
Struggling to breathe in the only bloom,
Constricted by a carbon monoxide plume
Destructive deforestation threatening demise
Suffocating life sparking international cries
Billows of smoke blending in with the clouds
Contaminating the precious air it enshrouds

Posted in Culture, Nature, Quotes

A-to-Z Challenge: Rejuvenate

Good morning everyone! While enjoying my daily routine of drinking tea this morning, I read a Life Hack article called “40 Self Care Techniques To Rejuvenate And Restore Yourself“. One important life lesson I have learned is the importance of rejuvenation.

There are times when many of us experience burnout. I enjoy engaging my sense of smell with various essential oils such as eucalyptus or the scent of a mandarin cranberry candle to help me unwind. Other bloggers have explored the various impact that fragrances can have on your life:

Image Credit: Pixabay

10 Ingredients for My Personal Rejuv Concoction

  1. Blog: I take great enjoyment in being able to express my thoughts, ideas, and photos of what I see on my blog and interact with other bloggers. Love getting inspired by all of you!
  2. Garden: It’s rewarding to grow plants and watch them grow when you care for them
  3. Hike: Being surrounded by nature refreshes me after having my eyes glued to the computer for long stretches of time.
  4. Jog/yoga: I feel more alive and energetic when I engage my body
  5. Journal: Here is where I journey into my heart and soul no matter where I’m at by putting my pen to work. I sketch and make crafts to put in my journal as well.
  6. Read: I enjoy visiting other worlds and exploring realms of various ideas when I read. I can improve my well being, learn how to manage areas of my life better, gain different perspectives
  7. Play the Piano: Music always gets in tune with what I’m feeling
  8. Vacation: Travelling has broadened my horizons and helped me meet a variety of people from various backgrounds.
  9. A new hairdo: Absolutely love to explore a new hair style!
  10. Spend time with family, friends, boyfriend: I enjoy exploring new things like trying out a new recipe with my loved ones, listening to their thoughts, relishing their reactions.

Cheers to the experiences, people, things that help rejuvenate us!

Previous Posts in 2019 A to Z Challenge 
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In response to:

  • Word of the Day Challenge: tea
  • FOWC with Fandango: oil
Posted in Concepts, poetry, Quotes

A-to-Z Challenge: Optimism

Kristen has invited us to think about attitude for Rory’s 3.2.1. Quote Me Challenge this week. I discovered a poem and some quotes about optimism and its link to attitude which makes me reflect on my own life. Enjoy!

Heal Yourself
By: Laya Sarath

The self within you is perturbed
Rusty, Dusty, unclear and broken
Ruptured spirit you carry within
It needs to be healed…
Healed from within your spirit
The soul needs to be nourished
With good deeds and thoughts
The soul within must be rejuvenated
Neatly cleaned and polished so to
Flow positive energy through body…
Cleanse the spirit, awaken yourself
Embrace solitude
Solitude I say is very powerful
To know the being within you

Some days you are more powerful
Than anyone around you..
Your company to self has stronger
And greater impact in life…
You would feel more relaxed
And determined on your own…
And that’s the time you realize
How strong and better you are
On your own…
For some reasons, you are stronger
Than anyone today, And this must go on

Heal Yourself; Live Yourself

Quotes on Optimism

When we adopt a dog or any pet, we know it is going to end with us having to say goodbye, but we still do it. And we do it for a very good reason: They bring so much joy and optimism and happiness. They attack every moment of every day with that attitude.

W. Bruce Cameron

One of the things I learned the hard way was that it doesn’t pay to get discouraged. Keeping busy and making optimism a way of life can restore faith in yourself.

Lucille Ball

Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier.

Colin Powell

Optimism, by the way, is not a superficial attitude. It’s a very muscular attitude. It’s a bold attitude that says no matter what, I can find a way. I can find the resources to deal with this.

Dr. Ned Hallowell

Optimism is the tool to help you get up after a fall, and to keep going toward the life you really want.

Unknown

Optimism is the most important human trait, because it allows us to evolve our ideas, to improve our situation, and to hope for a better tomorrow.

Seth Godin

Don’t worry about whether it’s half full or half empty. The point is, it’s refillable. That’s really all that matters.

Unknown

An arrow can only be shot by pulling it backward. When life is dragging you back into difficulties, it means it’s going to launch you into something great. So just focus, and keep aiming.

Unknown

Optimist: Someone who figures that taking a step backward after taking a step forward is not a disaster, it’s more like a cha-cha.

Unknown

A bad attitude is like a flat tire. You can’t go anywhere until you change it.

idlehearts.com

A positive attitude can turn a storm into a sprinkle.

Robert Hensel

Previous Posts in 2019 A to Z Challenge
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Posted in Culture, Quotes

3.2.1 Quote Me – Creativity

Jenna, The Sunshine Artist, has tagged me for the 3.2.1. Quote Me challenge started by Rory, A Guy Called Bloke and K-9 Doodlepip!, about creativity, one of my favorite topics! From making my own greeting cards, stories, clothes, gifts, being creative is one of the most rewarding endeavors I will ever embark in my life.

I really enjoy these quotes by Pixar!

As I ponder on the quotes below, I’ve realized that creativity is very difficult to measure in the classroom. If some people claim that they aren’t blessed with it, I wonder if some people can unlock the creativity within you. 🙂

Posted in Music

30-Day Song Challenge: Day 23

Today’s challenge is a song I think everyone should hear at least once. What a challenge since everyone has such different tastes! So keep that in mind as I share my humble collection. Enjoy! 🙂

A beautiful moment in animation! The soothing voice of a sweet child in Saoirse Song…

Saoirse Song

A soft lullaby to help you sleep and take you to magical places by the sea…

Song of the Sea

The soft tunes of the Orient…

Healing Chinese Zen Music

Mandisa’s inspirational & motivational music- Whatever difficulty you’re going through right now, you can get through it!

Mandisa – Overcomer

Amadeus Electric Quartet is a blessing in the instrumental world. Hope you enjoy the majestic scenery they take you through as you listen to their wonderful melodies!

Earth Song – Amadeus Electric Quartet